Academy Awards Winner Alex Gibney Unveils Damning Documentary, ’Totally Under Control’, About the White House’s Failed Response to the Pandemic

NEON announced today it is releasing Alex Gibney’s new production, Totally Under Control – directed by Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan & Suzanne Hillinger and edited with extraordinary skill and speed by an all-star team – which has been quietly filming for the last four monthsThe film is backed by various well known producing teams with Stacey Offman, Richard Perello of Jigsaw Productions, longtime Gibney/Jigsaw collaborators Alison Ellwood and Maiken Baird, Jeffrey Lurie and Marie Therese Guirgis of Play/Action Pictures, Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann of Participant, Tom Quinn, Dan O’Meara and Jeff Deutchman of NEON and Andrew Morrison, Mark Lampert and Michael Sacks of Yellow Bear Films all executive producing. 

At this moment 190,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.  From July 15 to August 31, the death toll was running at an average of 1000/day.  That’s double the number of those who perished on 9/11 every week. The carelessly designed lockdowns and their long-lasting economic effects have led to massive job losses (23 million/14.7% in April), widespread hunger, dislocation and a runaway federal deficit.  Had the federal government done its job properly – by following clear guidelines in place based on past pandemics – most of the death and destruction could have been avoided. While the current administration makes its claims for a job well done, the fact is that the US response to COVID-19 is one of the worst, with 4% of the world’s population and 21% of the deaths. 

How did this happen? 

On January 20th, 2020 the US and South Korea both discovered their first cases of COVID-19. However, 9 months later, the novel Coronavirus has claimed the lives of almost 200,000 Americans and caused staggering economic damage, while in South Korea, there were no significant lockdowns and, in an urbanized population of 51 million, only 344 lives have been lost.  Where did we go wrong? As the presidential election nears, Americans are increasingly enraged by a lack of clear leadership, endemic political corruption and left to wonder how did the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world manage to fail so thoroughly in its response to a global pandemic? 

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney, directing with Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger, interrogates this question and its devastating implications in Totally Under Control.  With damning testimony from public health officials and hard investigative reporting, Gibney exposes a system-wide collapse caused by a profound dereliction of Presidential leadership. 

It will be a generation before we know the full extent of the damage wrought by this pandemic, but Totally Under Control will stand as the definitive account of the Trump administration’s incompetence, corruption and denial in the face of this global pandemic. 

Totally Under Control will be released by NEON this October. 

Alex Gibney said: “With an extraordinary team of collaborators, I was compelled to mount this production when I saw the scale of incompetence and political corruption by the Trump Administration in the face of a global pandemic. Now we know that by Feb. 7, Trump knew that COVID was, in his words, “a deadly virus.” But instead of working to protect the American people by containing the virus, the current administration was willfully blind to the growing contagion (“it’s like a miracle; it will disappear,” said Trump) in hopes that voters wouldn’t notice any problems until after the 2020 election. While the current administration tries to frame the situation as an unavoidable crisis, it is really closer to a crime of negligence. Weirdly enough, I don’t see this as a political film; it’s a film about incompetence and corruption that is totally out of control.

Totally Under Control was written by Alex Gibney and produced and directed by Alex Gibney, Ophelia Harutyunyan and Suzanne Hillinger. The film was edited by Lindy Jankura and Alex Keipper, cinematography by Ben Bloodwell and music by Peter Nashel. 

Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for NEON with Nick Shumaker from UTA Independent Film Group and Jackie Eckhouse from Sloss Eckhouse LLP on behalf of the filmmakers.  Altitude is handling foreign sales.